COVID-19 and pregnancy in India : our response

COVID-19 and pregnancy in India raised many issues of concern for pregnant women from the very start of the epidemic in March 2019, to which we paid attention. It was obvious that pregnant women were having concerns and quite anxious. We decided to respond to the concerns of pregnant women with urgency and the limited extent of information that was available.

The pandemic is having a tremendous impact on pregnant women in Indian society. These are unprecedented times and like others we are responding in India to address issues, concerns and anxiety as a consequence. In Vijaywada, most public and private sector service health providers have either re-focussed to COVID -19 or have cut back their services by more than half. This has inadvertently affected antenatal care services for pregnant women. There is total lockdown and pregnant women are either being turned back or can not attend antenatal clinics. In response and to ensure pregnant women continue to be supported , we have realigned our interventions to be driven remotely and be based on mobile technology. We contact women who participate in Kushal wellbeing workshops, through our network of government and private sector hospitals, clinics and ASHA workers by telephone and provide information and education through our website and mobile app.

Read more about how we respond to COVID-19 related misinformation that is affecting pregnant women.

COVID-19 and pregnancy in India - General information

Pregnant women may have slightly higher risk compared to others who are not pregnant.

Pregnant women should protect themselves from COVID – 19. Hand hygiene by frequently washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, social distancing and avoiding touching of face, especially eyes, mouth and nose. Follow your government’s advice to the public.

Pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 might be at increased risk for other adverse outcomes, such as preterm birth.(updated, US Centres for Disease Control, Nov 2020)

As of date it is not confirmed if a pregnant woman with the novel coronavirus can pass the virus to her foetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. Some newborns have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 shortly after birth. It is unknown if these newborns got the virus before, during, or after birth from close contact with an infected person.Infections causing COVID-19 in newborns born to mothers with COVID-19 are uncommon.

Prenatal visits are important to ensure maternal and fetal health. However, your health care provider might advise increasing the interval between visits or encouraging telehealth visits. If you have any concerns about your health or your baby’s health, please call your doctor.

There are still many unknowns about how the novel coronavirus affects pregnant women, so please stay home as much as possible right now.

For reliable India specific COVID information updates, please visit the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India website.

COVID – 19 and pregnancy awareness sessions

COVID-19 symptoms awareness raising
COVID-19 and pregnancy in India

Scientific terms

Corona Virus refers to a family of viruses. Novel coronavirus is a specific coronavirus that is responsible for the COVID -19 pandemic. It is scientifically and officially called SARS-COV-2. The name for the cluster of diseases that SARS-COV-2 causes is called COVID – 19. For more information on COVID-19, please visit the WHO website.

COVID symptoms - training for ASHA and Anganwadi workers

COVID-19 symptoms and prevention training for community health workers

Requests from ASHA and Anganwadi Workers who are in the frontline of combating the COVID - 19 pandemic in Andhra Pradesh have been pouring in. They would like to have some basic awareness training on how to support pregnant women in their communities in relation to COVID - 19 and the coronavirus. In response we have produced a training deck, which has been adapted for the local context and translated in Telugu.

Please visit our YouTube channel